A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. – Henry Adams
Those who know me at all know that I love to read. And I love to read almost everything – biographies, pop-culture fiction series, thought leadership, faith-based books, you name it. It’s hard to believe that without one dedicated teacher who changed my life, I could have easily ended up illiterate and in a much different place than I am today.
My love for reading started way back in the second grade when my teacher at the time, Nancy Names, kept me in from recess one afternoon. She sat me down and told me in the nicest way possible that I wasn’t able to read like the other children and she wanted me to stay in for recess every day to practice reading with her.
Looking back on that conversation, I remember being embarrassed, but also thrilled that this teacher that I loved and admired wanted to spend time helping me. Now, decades later, I realize what a sacrifice that was; I am sure that there are very few resources as precious to elementary school teachers than the quiet time they have when their students are at recess.
For months, Mrs. Names coached me and taught me how to read until the day arrived when my mom announced we were moving to a new town. I was devastated, but before I left class for the last time, Mrs. Names bent down and whispered, “You are a reader. Read everything you can, as much as you can, as long as you can. One day, you will go to college.”
I have never forgotten those words. From that moment on, I have felt a passion for reading and have made it a priority in my life. I’ve also dedicated much of my life to helping others gain access to education and new ideas exposed through reading. Nancy Names instilled in me that reading is the most important skill you can ever acquire. She will never fully know the influence she has had on my life.
I’ve told this story of Nancy Names before, but I believe it is worth sharing again; especially today as we celebrate World Teacher’s Day. We all have teachers who have impacted us in huge ways. So, in honor of this very important day, I invite you too to share the story of a teacher who impacted your life. Share your story via your own blog or social media sites or simply around the dinner table tonight with your family – whatever the method, I hope you’ll join me and take a minute to honor all of the teachers who have played a role in shaping who we are today.
Question: Which teachers impacted your life and leadership in a lasting, memorable way? Do you know teachers in your sphere of influence that you can thank today?